Last night, I filled in a major gap in my experiences as a concert buff, attending Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band’s titanic three-hour show at Giants Stadium.
The Boss performed his classic brand of rock ‘n’ roll with an energy rivaling performers half his age. At 58, Springsteen is—as he quipped in a recent 60 Minutes interview—“a chiseled hunk of muscle,” who knows not only how to belt out a tune and produce magic with a guitar, but also how to work a crowd with effortless charm.
Springsteen’s thirty-year recording history spans hundreds of songs, so it wasn’t surprising that some in the audience held up signs requesting their favorites. His set list delivered the perfect combination of past and present, with hits ranging from “Held Up Without A Gun” and “Thunder Road” to “Hungry Heart” and the powerful post 9/11 anthem, “The Rising.” A rousing rendition of the 1980 classic “Sherry Darlin’” turned into a stadium-wide duet between Springsteen and the audience.
The E Street Band knocked it out of the park, with electrifying performances from drummer Max Weinberg and sax player Clarence Clemons. But it was Springsteen’s chemistry with Stevie Van Zandt that stole the show, as they stood smiling cheek to cheek, belting out the best of The Boss’ repertoire. Along the way, Springsteen also showcased his number one fans offstage.
“It’s my baby’s birthday tomorrow” he said, leading the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to wife and bandmate Patti Scialfa.
Teenage daughter Jessica also received a shoutout, when Bruce went into the crowd and put his arm around her.
“This is my little girl!” he said, briefly giving her the mike to sing.
The show ended on a high note with Springsteen’s signature hit “Born to Run.”
As my friend Sara and I made our way out of the stadium, it occurred to me that I have a soft spot in my heart for Jersey-bred musicians--Sinatra, Bon Jovi, Springsteen. When it comes to great music and unforgettable concerts, it simply doesn’t get any better than these guys. From where this New Yorker is sitting, The Boss still has many Glory Days ahead of him.
Rock on, Bruce.